Surgical Retractors are used to hold an incision or wound open while a surgeon works. The retractor could also be used to hold tissues or organs out of the way during a surgery.
Self-retaining retractors allow hands free operation during a surgery. Self-retaining surgical retractors can be small, such as those for eye procedures, or large, such as universal ring retractor systems.
This instructional video demonstrates set up and utilization of the vaginal self-retaining retractor for pelvic surgery. This includes review of all the component parts, step-by-step assembly, and utilization in different surgical scenarios. This retractor can be easily used with an improved understanding of function and set up, this video aims to aid with both. Utilization of a vaginal retractor facilitates surgical exposure of the pelvis. It also allows the surgeon to operate without reliance on variable surgical assistances. Finally, it promotes surgeon ergonomics.
In 1991, this publication about the Bookwalter self-retaining retractor was published: Click here to read more.
Already in 1960, AJOG published about self-retaining retractors in vaginal surgery.
More on ergonomics
Manual retraction, a task performed to expose the surgical site, poses a high risk for musculoskeletal disorders that affect the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and back. In recent years, minimally invasive and laparoscopic procedures have led to the development of multifunctional instruments and retractors capable of performing these functions that, in many cases, has eliminated the need for manual retraction. During surgical procedures that are not performed endoscopically, the use of self-retaining retractors enables the assistant to handle tissue and use exposure techniques that do not require prolonged manual retraction.
Tissue Retraction in the Perioperative Setting provides an algorithm for perioperative care providers to determine when and under what circumstances manual retraction of tissue is safe and when the use of a self-retaining retractor should be considered.
Types of self retaining retractors
There are several brands on the market today: lonestar retractor system, wilson retractor, seastar retractor and the Galaxy II self retaining retractor.
Retractors can be re-usable or single use, and are used with single use hooks of different types. The most common are 5mm sharp hooks, with 5mm or 12mm blunt hooks for some surgeons.